Police: Repeal 'outdated' parking law

Police are calling a long-standing city ordinance that has prevented overnight parking on city streets “outdated” and want it banished by the Burlingame City Council tonight.

The approximately 30-year-old ordinance prevents any car from being parked on a city street or alley between 2 and 6 a.m. The law is only enforced when police are calledin, according to a report by Sgt. Dean Williams.

Police said it usually takes just one ornery neighbor for officers to be called in to give $25 tickets to every car on a street, a notion echoed by lifelong resident Gerald Weisl, who used to live in an area where he did not have a parking spot.

“People ought to be afforded a place to park at least one vehicle overnight on the street,” Weisl said.

Residents can qualify for a $10 overnight parking permit but fewer than 100 people in the city typically acquire one each year, Williams said.

Repealing the ordinance would eliminate a neighbor-against-neighbor mentality and allow officers to perform regular duties, said Chief Jack Van Etten.

Some residents, however, said the ordinance can be helpful when driving through Burlingame’s narrow streets and “a ton” of parked cars, said resident Michael Bohnert, a member of the Traffic, Safety and Parking Commission. He said residents believe driving at night becomes more dangerous as the roads narrow even further with cars lining both sides of the street.

By Burlingame police’s count, Menlo Park is the only other city in the county with an overnight-parking ordinance. Police there, however, use two part-time officers to enforce the rule every night between 2 and 5 a.m., Menlo Park police said. Menlo Park’s parking ordinance pertains only to cars parked within 300 feet of a residential zone.

Police are not too worried about losing revenue from permits and tickets. The department makes less than $1,000 annually from the ordinance, Williams said.

mrosenberg@examiner.com  

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